Articles | Photographs by Rafal Lukawiecki - Page 2

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The Meaning of (Be)Longing

It is dif­fi­cult for me to express in words what I see in those land­scapes. I am cer­tain that there are sev­er­al inter­con­nec­ted lay­ers in my see­ing, to which I react emo­tion­ally. In its first express­ive lay­er, (Be)Longing lets me show beauty and serenity of places that are rather for­bid­ding to a man. I am curi­ous about the mag­net­ic attrac­tion of a desert in which one step too far under the Delicate Arch is a step towards death. Why do the slot canyons of the Navajo land fas­cin­ate with their paint­erly, unique beauty, while stand­ing in them in a heav­ier rain leads to a tragedy? The dif­fi­culty of liv­ing in many of the places that I have been record­ing is as sheer as our souls’ yearn­ing to belong to them. The fur­ther I am from the arid Mojave the more I long for it. Circumstances caused those forces to remain sep­ar­ate. My pho­to­graphs let me, and I hope the view­ers, exper­i­ence the exal­ta­tion of a moment when those feel­ings join each oth­er in an image. 

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Large Format Photography Takes Time

All of my large format pho­to­graphs require at least sev­er­al days of work. Film, which con­sists of indi­vidu­al sheets, has to be manu­ally loaded and unloaded from its hold­ers in the dark. Steps for set­ting up the cam­era, choos­ing the film and lens planes, select­ing the lens itself and cal­cu­lat­ing the expos­ure para­met­ers take about an hour. After devel­op­ing and dry­ing the neg­at­ives, I start inter­pret­ing them in my dark­room using a pho­to­graph­ic enlarger. 

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Grayscale Monitor Calibration

Can I see your work online?” is a fre­quent ques­tions I get. My sil­ver-gelat­in prints are designed to be seen on your wall, or at least viewed dir­ectly with noth­ing between their sur­face and your eyes, except, per­haps, some qual­ity glass. They have a bril­liance and ton­al­ity that no com­puter mon­it­or can show. Still, I need to be able to show you a good approx­im­a­tion on my web site. For that reas­on, I rely on your mon­it­or’s abil­ity to show the entire grayscale.